What’s making my child’s skin so dry?
Babies and children can get dry skin just like grownups do. In reality, because young skin is more delicate, it’s more susceptible to ending up being dry.
Cold, dry outdoor air and indoor heating can rob skin of its natural wetness in the winter season. And if your child is susceptible to dry skin, he’ll break out in dry spots in the summertime too, due to the fact that the summertime sun, a/c, seawater, and the chlorine in pool water can all be drying.
Your newborn’s skin is thinner than yours. Her skin can take in and lose moisture more quickly, making it prone to dryness. When your baby was still in your womb (uterus), her skin was protected by a waxy substance called vernix.
What can I do about my child’s dry skin?
Cut back on bath time
Bathing dries a child’s skin because it eliminates the skin’s natural oils in addition to the dirt. But as long as you take a few preventative measures, even daily baths shouldn’t be a problem, states Seth Orlow, director of pediatric dermatology at New York University School of Medicine.
Instead of a 30-minute bath, cut bath time to about 10 minutes. Use warm water– not hot– and soap up moderately. In truth, Orlow suggests using a fragrance-free, soap-free cleanser, which is much less severe than routine soap.
Let your child have her playtime in the tub before you clean her, so she will not be being in soapy water. And do not leave the cleansing bar floating in the tub. You’ll most likely want to cut bubble baths out of your child’s routine– or at least restrict them to unique events.
While bath oils might look like a great idea, they can make the tub precariously slippery, and the majority of the oil slides down the drain anyhow. Using an emollient (skin moisturizer) after bathing is a better route.
Slather on the moisturizer
As soon as you take your child from the bath, rapidly pat him dry with a towel, then apply moisturizer right away. Applying the moisturizer within minutes of taking your child from the tub will seal in the water that’s still in his skin from the bath.
As far as moisturizers go, the basic rule is the thicker the much better. If your child’s skin is still dry even with everyday moisturizing, attempt changing from a cream to a thicker cream or ointment. (Lotions are best at keeping wetness in the skin, but they can feel greasy. Simply use percentages and gently rub it into the skin. Creams rub in without leaving a greasy feel on the skin.).
You may likewise want to consider hydrating twice a day– when after bathing and as soon as throughout the day. If your child doesn’t have the patience for a midday slather, you may let him listen to a favorite tune or enjoy a video while you use the moisturizer. Or, if he’s old enough, let him do it himself, if that makes the routine more reasonable.
Don’t let salt or chlorine dry on her skin
Chlorine and seawater can both be extremely drying. After a swim in the pool or ocean, rinse your child with tap water, then apply moisturizer while her skin’s still damp.
Run a humidifier
If the air in your home is dry, use a cool mist humidifier in your child’s space.
Keep your child well hydrated
Dry skin lacks moisture. Offer your child plenty to drink year-round to replace the moisture that’s vaporizing from his skin. (If your child is still a baby, stick with breast milk or formula for a minimum of the first six months, unless his doctor advises otherwise. Read our expert’s response to “When can my baby drink water?”.
Keep in mind that consuming a lot will not do anything if you don’t moisturize also. It resembles putting water into a bucket with a hole, says Orlow. Without moisturizer to keep in the water, your child’s skin will not appropriately hydrate.
Safeguard your child from the elements
Ensure your child uses mittens or gloves in cold weather to keep her hands from becoming dry and chapped from the cold and the wind. No matter what the season, take steps to safeguard her from windburn and sunburn.
Prevent drying or intensifying active ingredients
Don’t use powders or fragrances on your child’s skin, and consider utilizing unscented laundry items. If your child’s skin is particularly sensitive, you might wish to wash his clothes twice, to eliminate all traces of soap residue.
If your child’s skin is really sensitive, do not dress him in clothing that’s tight or rough. Also bear in mind that some materials, such as wool, can be particularly irritating to dry skin.
Be persistent about keeping your child’s nails tidy and short if itching is an issue.
Could dry skin be a sign of some other sort of condition?
If your child has itchy red patches on her skin, it’s possible she has eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis. Sometimes even eczema will clean up with regular moisturizing, though, so you needn’t rush to the doctor unless the spots do not get better or your child seems itchy or uneasy despite your efforts.
In rare cases, dry skin can suggest a genetic condition called ichthyosis. Ichthyosis appears as dry skin with scaling and occasionally inflammation. It’s also usually accompanied by a thickening of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. If your doctor suspects that your child has ichthyosis, he’ll probably refer you to a skin doctor examination and treatment.
Should I talk with the doctor about my child’s dry skin?
At your child’s next visit to the doctor, ask for suggestions for battling dry skin. Set up a see if you believe your child has signs of eczema or ichthyosis, as described above. Also call for an appointment if your child’s skin does not enhance with home treatments or you see any signs of infection, like a yellow discharge or swelling around a fracture in his skin.